Understanding Boil Water Advisories and Boil Water Orders

KC Water produces and delivers clean, safe drinking water right to the taps of more than half million Kansas City residents and 33 wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. We monitor and test water quality throughout the distribution system, from the Missouri River to water mains in neighborhoods, to ensure the purity of Kansas City’s drinking water.

Our dedicated employees work around the clock to test drinking water for more than 300 contaminants, exceeding the required EPA standard of testing for 181 contaminants. Additionally, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources sets state regulations for drinking water. KC Water meets or exceeds every single one.

Thanks to careful monitoring and strict safeguards, it is unlikely that drinking water safety or quality would be compromised. In rare cases when a condition in the distribution system may put drinking water at risk, KC Water issues public notices.

Boil Water Advisory

A Boil Water Advisory is issued as a precautionary measure. An advisory does not mean that the drinking water is contaminated, but rather that it could be contaminated, so precautions should be taken until drinking water quality testing can be completed to confirm that no bacterial contamination is present.

Under a Boil Water Advisory, it is recommended that customers follow these guidelines:

  • Boil all drinking water. Tap water should be boiled vigorously for three minutes before using it to drink, cook, or prepare food. Let the water cool sufficiently before drinking.
  • Ice made with un-boiled tap water should not be used for drinking purposes.
  • Dishes and food contact surfaces may be disinfected using tap water that contains one teaspoon of household bleach per gallon.
  • The tap water is safe for other purposes such as bathing; however, small children should be discouraged from swallowing bath water.
  • Water boiled for drinking and cooking purposes may be used for brushing teeth.

Boil Water Order

A Boil Water Order is issued if contamination has been confirmed in the drinking water system. Under a Boil Water Order, it is essential and necessary that customers follow the guidelines in the bullet points above.

Do Not Use Order

A Do Not Use Order is only issued in a chemical contamination event, in which case boiling water would be ineffective at removing the contaminant. If a Do Not Use Order is issued, customers would be warned not to use tap water for any purpose.

Cancellation Notice

KC Water issues a Cancellation Notice once tests confirm that water in the distribution system meets requirements for public drinking water and is safe to drink. When a Cancellation Notice is issued, customers no longer need to boil water prior to drinking or cooking.


More information about the safety and quality of drinking water can be found at

Still have questions? Contact:

311 Action Center: 816-513-1313, or 311
KC Water Dispatch:  816-513-0416 (available 24 hours a day)